Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thomas Shaw - Friend of Blind Lemon Jefferson

Thomas Edgar Shaw(March 4, 1908 – February 24, 1977) was born in Brenham, Texas, and as a young man he worked with Blind Lemon Jefferson, J. T. Smith and Ramblin' Thomas.Tom Shaw spent about five years on the Texas house party circuit in the 1920's and early 1930's before moving to San Diego in 1934. Shaw met many great Texas bluesmen including Smokey Hogg, T-Bone Walker, Mance Lipscomb, Blind Willie Johnson, Ramblin' Thoms, JT "Funny Papa" Smith and Blind Lemon Jefferson who he was clearly a disciple of. He met Jefferson in Waco, Texas in 1926 or 27. JT "Funny Papa" Smith offered to let Shaw play on one of his records in 1931 but Smith was sent to jail on a murder charge. In the 1960's and 70s he recorded for the Advent, Blue Goose and Blues Beacon labels.He recorded "Hey Mr. Nixon" and "Martin Luther King". Thomas Shaw passed away during open heart surgery in February 1977.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gary Clark Jr. - The Future of the Blues

Gary Clark Jr. (born February 15, 1984), is an American guitarist and actor considered by some to be the leader of the Austin, Texas rock scene, playing in a style that has at times been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Acclaimed as the savior of blues,Clark has established a resume which has enabled him to share the stage with various legends of rock and roll. His live performances, as well as his recordings, blend rock, soul and blues, infusing fluid guitar with a guttural howl and a falsetto trill that mix together. Despite his roots, Clark comes across as someone who is forging something unique in the music world. More specifically, his 2010 self-titled EP debuts his ability to explore various genres of music, while demonstrating his independence and distinctiveness from the heavily saturated music industry.Gary Clark Jr. began playing guitar at the age of twelve. Born and raised in Austin, Clark played small gigs throughout his teens, until he met promoter Clifford Antone, proprietor of the Austin blues club Antone's. Antone's provided the launching pad for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan to redefine modern blues music.Soon after meeting Clifford, Clark began to play with an array of musical icons, including Jimmie Vaughan. Vaughan and others in the Austin music community helped Clark along his musical path, facilitating his ascent in the Texas rock & roll scene. Today, Clark is one of the many black musicians in rock & roll who are resurrecting the blues of today, while in contrast to the past forty years, where blues has been the canvass and playground for mainly white musicians. Clark's music, highlights how the influence of rock and roll and blues music have ubiquitously shaped virtually every medium of music over the past century: ranging from hip-hop to country music. Clark was featured in the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival alongside B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Jeff Beck, and ZZ Top. Clark won the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist, on three different occasions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Asie Reed Payton (April 12, 1937 – May 19, 1997)was an American blues musician, who lived most of his life in Holly Ridge, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta. Born in Washington County, Mississippi, he sang and played the guitar, but made his living as a farmer.all we knew about Asie was that he lived in a shotgun shack -- no phone, no a/c; and that whenever the fields were dry enough for tractor tires, he was working in them. When they were too wet, Asie was impossible to find. He lived in Holly Ridge almost all of his life and, like his father before him, spent Saturday nights playing in one of the two small grocery stores that qualify Holly Ridge for a name on the map-- a place, instead of just a county-road intersection. He also wrote and performed blues originals, playing at places like the local grocery store, Junior Kimbrough's club, and Jimmy's Auto Care. A True Delta Bluesman!
Near the end of his life he recorded one album, Worried, for the Fat Possum Records label, which was released after his death. He died of a heart attack.
He appeared and performed in the documentary film, You See Me Laughin': The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen. There is also a track by Payton on the Big Bad Love soundtrack. Payton's song, "I Love You" from the album, Worried, was used in the closing credits of the 2002 film, The Badge. Several artists from Fat Possum were featured in the soundtrack, but it was not released.
He and his wife Mary are interred at Holly Ridge Cemetery, where Charlie Patton is also buried

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early

Elmo Williams (born February 6, 1933) and Hezekiah Early (born October 7, 1934) both grew up in the area of Natchez, MS.Hezekiah, formerly of Hezekiah and the House Rockers, is still the only man going who can simultaneously beat drums and blow through harmonica with the aid of electrician's tape and a mike stand. Hezekiah has no competition.
Elmo, armed with a Yamaha guitar and a full Fender Band Master stack, does everything else. For Elmo, learning riffs has always come easy, as having respect for others, their beliefs, values, and personal property has always been difficult. The harder he tries to respect others, the harder it gets. Things would be a lot easier if he's just give up. When not in church praying or playing guitar, Elmo mostly enjoys staying out of trouble. Williams spent time in the army and worked as a baker, a truck driver, and on a road crew, all the while playing music on the side, picking up guitar himself after his father refused to give him lessons on the instrument. Early banged on pots and pans and played harp outside his father's grocery store as a youth, being taught in part by area harp wizard Papa George. With the aid of a mic stand and some duct tape, Early was able to play drums and harp at the same time, and formed Hezekiah and the House Rockers. He was also featured on the soundtrack of the 1979 Muhammad Ali TV movie Freedom Road. Both men played regularly at the famed Big Haney's bar across the river in Ferriday, LA (the town that produced Jimmy Swaggart, Mickey Gilley, and Jerry Lee Lewis). In 1997 they recorded a single, "For the Love of Jesus-Chapter 1" for Sympathy for the Record Industry, and an album, Takes One to Know One, on Fat Possum. Their loud, brash, aggressive sound found favor with punks and indie rockers as well as with adventurous blues fans. ~ John Duffy, All Music Guide

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

R. L. Boyce

RL Boyce taking the floor. He’s a musician who plays hill country blues and he does it in a way that’s totally gripping

Monday, October 10, 2011

Richard Johnston

Richard Johnston is a country blues musician who won the 2001 International Blues Talent competition award, and the 2001 Albert King Award for most promising blues guitarist. His work as a street musician ( busking) on Beale Street in Memphis, TN was documented in the Alabama PBS film Richard Johnston: Hill Country Troubadour. The film, directed by Max Shores, featured Johnston singing and playing his "Lowebow" cigar box guitar. It won first place in the professional documentary film category at the 2007 George Lindsey film festival.

Johnston studied under blues artists including R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Jessie Mae Hemphill. His first album, Foot Hill Stomp (2002) featured Hemphill on vocals and tambourine, with assistance from R.L. Burnside's grandson, Cedric Burnside, and others. His second album, Official Bootleg #1 (2004), was assisted by Hemphill and by Cedric Burnside, as well a number of other artists.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

David "Honeyboy" Edwards

David "Honeyboy" Edwards (June 28, 1915 – August 29, 2011)was born June 28, 1915 in Shaw, Mississippi, and passed away on August 29, 2011 at his home in Chicago, Illnois. Honeyboy is one of the last living links to Robert Johnson, and one of the last original acoustic Delta blues players. He is a living legend, and his story is truly part of history. He is the real deal.
Honeyboy was a part of many of the seminal moments of the blues. As Honeyboy writes in "The World Don't Own Me Nothing", " was in '29 when Tommy Johnson come down from Crystal Springs, Mississippi. He was just a little guy, tan colored, easy-going; but he drank a whole lot. At nighttime, we'd go there and listen to Tommy Johnson play." Honeyboy continues, " Listening to Tommy, that's when I really learned something about how to play guitar. Edwards was 14 years old when he left home to travel with bluesman Big Joe Williams, beginning the life as an itinerant musician which he led throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He performed with and was a friend of blues musician Robert Johnson. Honeyboy was present on the night Johnson drank poisoned whiskey which killed him, and his story has become the definitive version of Johnson's demise. Edwards knew and played with many of the leading bluesmen in the Mississippi Delta: Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, and Johnny Shines. He described the itinerant bluesman's life:
“ On Saturday, somebody like me or Robert Johnson would go into one of these little towns, play for nickels and dimes. And sometimes, you know, you could be playin' and have such a big crowd that it would block the whole street. Then the police would come around, and then I'd go to another town and where I could play at. But most of the time, they would let you play. Then sometimes the man who owned a country store would give us something like a couple of dollars to play on a Saturday afternoon. We could hitchhike, transfer from truck to truck, or if we couldn't catch one of them, we'd go to the train yard, 'cause the railroad was all through that part of the country then...we might hop a freight, go to St. Louis or Chicago. Or we might hear about where a job was paying off - a highway crew, a railroad job, a levee camp there along the river, or some place in the country where a lot of people were workin' on a farm. You could go there and play and everybody would hand you some money. I didn't have a special place then. Anywhere was home. Where I do good, I stay. When it gets bad and dull, I'm gone. ” Folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Edwards in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1942 for the Library of Congress. Edwards recorded 15 album sides of music. The songs included "Wind Howlin' Blues" and "The Army Blues". He did not record again commercially until 1951, when he recorded "Who May Be Your Regular Be" for Arc Records under the name of Mr Honey. His discography for the 1950s and 1960s amounts to nine songs from seven sessions.From 1974 to 1977, he recorded material for a full length LP, I've Been Around, released in 1978 on the independent Trix Records label by producer/ethnomusicologist Peter B. Lowry. Edwards authored the book, The World Don't Owe Me Nothin', published in 1997 by Chicago Review Press. The book recounts his life from childhood, his journeys through the South and his arrival in Chicago in the early 1950s. A companion CD by the same title was released by Earwig Music shortly afterwards. His long association with Earwig Music and Michael Frank spawned many late career albums on a variety of independent labels from the 1980s on. He has also recorded at a church-turned-studio in Salina, Kansas and released albums on the APO record label. Edwards continued the rambling life he describes in his autobiography as he still toured the world well into his 90s.His albums White Windows, The World Don't Owe Me Nothin', Mississippi Delta Blues Man, and a recent album in which he appears with Robert Lockwood, Jr., Henry Townsend and Pinetop Perkins, "Last Of The Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas",were all nominated for the W. C. Handy Award. The latter album also won a Grammy Award in 2008.On July 17, 2011, his Manager Michael Frank announced that Edwards would be retiring due to ongoing health issues.
On August 29, 2011, Edwards died at his home, of congestive heart failure, at around 3 a.m.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robert Jr. Lockwood

Robert Lockwood, Jr., also known as Robert Junior Lockwood, (March 27, 1915 – November 21, 2006)[1] was an American blues guitarist who recorded for Chess Records among other Chicago labels in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known as a longtime collaborator with Sonny Boy Williamson II, and for his work in the mid 1950s with Little Walter Jacobs.Robert Lockwood was born in Turkey Scratch, a hamlet west of Helena, Arkansas. He started playing the organ in his father's church at the age of 8. The famous bluesman Robert Johnson lived with Lockwood's mother for 10 years off and on after his parents' divorce. Lockwood learned from Johnson not only how to play guitar, but timing and stage presence as well. Because of his personal and professional association with the music of Robert Johnson, he became known as "Robert Junior" Lockwood, a nickname by which he was known among fellow musicians for the rest of his life, although he later frequently professed his dislike for this appellation.By age 15, Lockwood was playing professionally at parties in the Helena area. He often played with his quasi-stepfather figure, Robert Johnson, also occasionally with Sonny Boy Williamson or Johnny Shines. Lockwood played at fish fries, juke joints, and street corners throughout the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s. An anecdote from Lockwood's website claims on one occasion Robert Johnson played on one side of the Sunflower River, while Lockwood played on the other, with the people of Clarksdale, Mississippi milling about the bridge, supposedly unable to tell which guitarist was the real Robert Johnson.
Lockwood played with Sonny Boy Williamson in the Clarksdale, Mississippi area in 1938 and 1939. He also played with Howlin' Wolf and others in Memphis, Tennessee around 1938. From 1939 to 1940 he split his time playing in St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois and Helena.[2]
In 1941, Lockwood made his first recordings with Doctor Clayton for the Bluebird label in Aurora, Illinois. During these same sessions, he also recorded the four songs which were released as the first two singles under his own name, which were early versions of his staple repertoire. These recordings were released as 78s on Bluebird Records.
Also in 1941, Lockwood and Williamson were featured on the first King Biscuit Time radio program on KFFA in Helena. For several years in the early 1940s the pair played together in and around Helena and continued to be associated with King Biscuit Time. From about 1944 to 1949 Lockwood played in West Memphis, Arkansas, St. Louis, Chicago and Memphis. Lockwood was an early influence of B. B. King and played with King's band during his early career in Memphis.
In 1950, Lockwood settled in Chicago. In 1954 he replaced Louis Myers as guitarist in Little Walter's band, and played on Walter's #1 hit "My Babe" in 1955. He left Little Walter's band shortly thereafter, and in the late '50s recorded several sessions with Sonny Boy Williamson for Chess Records, sessions which also included Willie Dixon and Otis Spann. Lockwood also performed and/or recorded with Sunnyland Slim, Eddie Boyd, and Muddy Waters among others.In 1961, Lockwood moved with his wife to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio where he resided until his death. In the early 1960s, as "Bob Lockwood, Jr., and Combo," he had a regular gig at Loving's Grill, located at 8426 Hough Avenue. In the 1970s through the 1990s, he performed regularly with his band the "All Stars" at numerous local venues, including Pirate's Cove, The Euclid Tavern, and Peabody's. For the last few years of his career, Lockwood played at Cleveland's Fat Fish Blue (corner of Prospect and Ontario in downtown) every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.; the "All Stars" have continued to perform there after his death.
His Cleveland period also saw the release of some of his most noteworthy studio recordings as a band leader, first with a pair of albums playing solo and with his band of the time on the Trix Records label, and then with Johnny Shines for two LPs on the Rounder label. The latter showed both men determinedly playing the music they were interested in, rather than the familiar requests of the blues audience - an attitude Lockwood maintained.[4] Although he seldom performed without his band, he also recorded a solo album of his own material, along with a few Robert Johnson standards, under the title Plays Robert and Robert. Lockwood has dealt briskly, sometimes brusquely, with the Johnson legend. It's typical that when he gave one of his infrequent album recitals of Johnson songs, for Plays Robert and Robert (1983), he puckishly chose to use a 12-string guitar.
In 2004, Lockwood appeared at Eric Clapton's first Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas. A live recording with three other blues musicians in Dallas in October 2004 – Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas – was awarded a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. or the late Henry Townsend and Robert Lockwood Jr. It was the first Grammy win for the musicians. His last known recording session was carried out at Ante Up Audio studios in Cleveland; where he performed on the album The Way Things Go, with long time collaborator Cleveland Fats for Honeybee Entertainment.
Lockwood died at the age of 91 in Cleveland, having earlier suffered a cerebral aneurysm and a stroke. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Cleveland

Monday, August 8, 2011

Johnny Shines

Johnny Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was an American blues singer and guitarist. According to the music journalist Tony Russell, "Shines was that rare being, a blues artist who overcame age and rustiness to make music that stood up beside the work of his youth. When Shines came back to the blues in 1965 he was 50, yet his voice had the leonine power of a dozen years before, when he made records his reputation was based on".He was born John Ned Shines in Frayser, Tennessee. He spent most of his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee playing slide guitar at an early age in local “jukes” and for tips on the streets. He was "inspired by the likes of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, and the young Howlin' Wolf", but he was taught to play the guitar by his mother.Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas in 1932 and worked on farms for three years putting his musical career on hold. It was this chance meeting with Robert Johnson, his greatest influence, that gave him the inspiration to return to music. In 1935, Shines began traveling with Johnson, touring the south and heading as far north as Ontario where they appeared on a local radio program. The two went their separate ways in 1937, one year before Johnson's death.Shines played throughout the southern United States until 1941 when he settled in Chicago. There Shines found work in the construction industry but continued to play in local bars.

He made his first recording in 1946 for Columbia Records, but the takes were never released.He recorded for Chess in 1950, and was once again denied release. He kept playing with local blues musicians in the Chicago area for several more years. In 1952, Shines recorded what is considered his best work for the J.O.B. Records label. The recordings were a commercial failure and Shines, frustrated with the music industry, sold his equipment and returned to construction.
In 1966, Vanguard Records found Shines taking photographs in a Chicago blues club and had him record tracks for the third installment of Chicago/The Blues/Today! The album has since then become a blues classic and it brought Shines into the mainstream music scene.In the late 1960s and 1970s, Shines toured with Robert Johnson's stepson, Robert Lockwood, Jr. as the last remaining original delta blues musicians. In 1980, Shines' music was brought to a standstill when he suffered a stroke. He would later appear, and play, in the 1991 documentary The Search for Robert Johnson and manage to release one last album, Back To The Country, which won a W.C. Handy Award. It featured playing from Snooky Prior and Johnny Nicholas.
In the mid 1980s Shines was "adopted" by a group of Tuascaloosa blues lovers. The core of this group was Debbie Bond and her Kokomo Blues Band. The group kept Shines socially active, taking him to gigs by local and national Blues musicians, and Debbie kept him supplied with vitamins and minerals to reduce the affects of the stroke and drinking relapses. Shines had very little income and lived in a simple cinderblock apartment in a rough section of Tuscaloosa. In 1985, Tuascaloosa's National Public Radio station produced a show honoring Shine's birthday. The Mayor of Tuscaloosa proclaimed Johnny Shines Day and presented him a Key to the City. During this perios, Shines was also cared for by his girlfriend, Miss Candy.

In 1989 Shines came to California to play a month long tour hitting universities (UC Santa Cruz) and clubs, ranging as far north as San Francisco's "Slims", where he played an acoustic set with David Schnittman backing him on guitar plus a mandolin player. For the rest of his shows Johnny used a local Santa Cruz CA blues band named "Blue Magic". The band leader was the late Gary Martin (guitar/vocals) David Schnittman (Bass) and Scott Cooper (drums). Johnny had suffered a stroke a few years earlier but his voice retained its legendary power. However he could no longer "fret" his guitar with his left hand and played only "slide" guitar; both on his acoustic and electric guitars. Johnny and the Blue Magic ranged as far south as the Belly Up club in San Diego and the "Palomino Club in Los Angeles. At these two southern California dates Johnny shared the stage with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Shines died on 20 April 1992, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame later the same year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

J. W. Warren

J.W. Warren was born in 1921 in Enterprise, AL. In a family of eleven children, he was the only one to take up music, starting at the age of fifteen or sixteen. He entered the military as a young adult and served for 14 years. After serving in the military, he started farming and begain to play barbeques at house parties in southeast Alabama.
"I came up the hard way. I never had a break whatsoever. In other words, I never had a break in my life. I was born in the wrong part of the world and then again I didn't go any place else. My daddy gave me a good raising and I know how to treat people, how to be respectful to folks. I like that. But I had too much trouble in my life. I didn't do anything with the talent I had because I didn't have much education. When you got a back break like I had you doubt yourself, you know it's rough man!"
In his young days he dated Big Mamma Thornton when they were scuffling around together in Alabama juke joints. When Tim Duffy met him he told him that he had given up his music. Duffy convinced him to record and was amazed by his original story songs and his guitar style in which he employed his old jack-knife for a slide. J.W. Warren died of a heart attack at his home in Ariton, AL, on the afternoon of August 5, 2003. Posthumously recorded by Fat possum Records "Life Ain't Worth Living"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Garfield Akers

Garfield Akers (b. 1901 or 1902, Brights or Bates, Mississippi, d. between 1953 and 1959, probably in Memphis, Tennessee) was a blues singer and guitarist. He sometimes performed under the pseudonym "Garfield Partee."The throbbing guitar sound of Garfield Akers was a primary influence on subsequent generations of Mississippi bluesmen, with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Robert Wilkins citing him as an influence!
Born around 1902 in Bates, Mississippi, Akers remains a shadowy figure; after honing his skills at local dances and house parties, he relocated to the Hernando area, where he worked by day as a sharecropper. After moving on to Memphis, in 1929 he made his first Vocalion label recordings at the Peabody, accompanied by guitarist Joe Callicott; between this first date and a 1930 session for Brunswick, four Akers performances still exist - his two-part signature "Cottonfield Blues," "Jumpin' and Shoutin' Blues," and "Dough Roller Blues," one of the first variations on Hambone Willie Newbern's seminal "Roll and Tumble."
His most well-known song is his debut, the Cottonfield Blues, which Don Kent praised with the words "only a handful of guitar duets in all blues match the incredible drive, intricate rhythms and ferocious intensity" and called Akers "one of the greatest vocalists in blues history". Michael Gray appreciated it as "the birth of rock ’n’ roll … from 1929!"
Akers' extant recordings consist of four sides, which are nonetheless historically significant. His most well-known song was his debut, "Cottonfield Blues", a duet with friend and longtime collaborator Joe Callicott on second guitar, based on a song performed by Texas Bluesman Henry Thomas a few years prior.
Akers lived in Hernando, Mississippi most of his life, working as a sharecropper and performing during off-hours at local house parties and dances. He toured with Frank Stokes on the Doc Watts Medicine Show. Akers was reportedly active on the south Memphis circuit throughout the 1930s. Akers and Callicott played together for more than twenty years, parting in the mid-1940's. Akers briefly resurfaced in the early 1950s, shortly before his death at a historically undetermined date. No photographs of Akers are known to exist.Nothing is known about Akers after the pair split as a performing duo although it is believed that he died around the end of the 1950's or the beginning of the 1960's, possibly in Memphis.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kenny Brown

Kenny Brown is a blues slide guitarist from Nesbit, Mississippi.Born in Selma, Alabama, in 1953, his family moved to Nesbit, Mississippi, when he was less than a year old. Kenny developed an interest in playing guitar at the age of ten and began teaching himself the basics. Two years later, the bluesman Joe Callicott moved in next door, and Kenny’s fate was sealed. This unlikely pair would spend hours together, whether in the morning before Kenny had to be at school or in the evening as soon as Kenny came home.
On some nights, Kenny would hear the music coming from Othar Turner's place down the way. Growing up in this part of Mississippi, Kenny was surrounded by musicians: Junior Kimbrough, Fred McDowell, and R. L. Burnside. Their influence wasn’t wasted on this young white boy, and Kenny made sure to prove himself to them all.
Kenny became skilled in the North Mississippi Hill Country blues style popularized by his mentor R. L. Burnside,he began his career by apprenticing with Mississippi Joe Callicott, Johnny Woods, and Mississippi Fred McDowell.He has also cited Muddy Waters,Jessie Mae Hemphill,Junior Kimbrough,Johnny Winter,and Johnny Shines as influences.In 1971 Brown began performing with R. L. Burnside.By the age of eighteen he was playing with Burnside’s band; over the next thirty or so years together, they would tour all over the world. Burnside often referred to Kenny as his “adopted son”and affectionately called him "white boy on guitar" and "my white son." Both Brown and Burnside have noted the singularity of Brown's being a white musician playing in the previously predominantly African American genre of North Mississippi Hill Country blues.Brown's guitar work was featured in the 2006 film Black Snake Moan, where he provided backing for star Samuel L. Jackson's vocals. He can also be seen in the film's climax as a guitarist in a blues band, playing alongside Burnside's grandson Cedric.
He has also performed with rock bands Widespread Panic and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. He has recorded one album for the Fat Possum Records label (Stingray), and his most recent double-album "Can't Stay Long" was released in June 2011 on Devil Down Records .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rev Utah Smith The Two Wings Preacher

Rev. Utah Smith (1906 - 1965) first was a "traveling evangelist" out of the Churches Of God In Christ before he settled in New Orleans. There he founded the Two Wings Temple and the song "Two Wings" became his "theme song". Smith oftentimes used two wings while singing this song. Even before he came to New Orleans he played an electric guitar. He toured the South and was famous for this particular song. Smith recorded "Two Wings" first in 1944, but the 1953 recording is the more famous one. Sister Rosetta Tharpe stated Smith being one of the great "old" guitar players in gospel music. Smith's "Two Wings" might be a good example of simple southern community singing.Almost nothing else has been known about the life of sanctified electric guitar preacher Elder Utah Smith .“I vividly remember the first time I heard Reverend Utah Smith in 1965 on a 78 rpm record on the Two Wing Temple label. God, what a sound! Screaming vocals by Rev. Smith, heated responses by a chorus of young women, and manic, distorted electric guitar with the volume knob turned all the way up. Since that time I have longed to know more about this mysterious evangelist and pioneer of the electric guitar but have learned very little.It turns out that Smith was a major player in the growth of America's largest predominantly black Pentecostal denomination.”
– Dr. David Evans, The University of Memphis

Monday, May 16, 2011

Belton Sutherland

Belton Sutherland, an unknown Mississippi bluesman--a master musician who appeared duringan Alan Lomax's session with another singer and was asked to "try" an improvised blues on Clyde Maxwell's porch.Boy! Did he try it! Kind of a cross between Skip James and Robert Johnson!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mississippi Joe Callicott

Joe Callicott, better known as Mississippi Joe Callicott (October 10, 1900 – 1969[latter date is unconfirmed]), was an American blues singer and guitarist.Although his early recording career resulted in only two songs issued in 1930, Nesbit native Joe Callicott (1899-1969) is often regarded as one of Mississippi’s finest early bluesmen. His guitar work was also featured with local bluesman Garfield Akers on Cottonfield Blues, a classic 1929 single that illustrated how blues developed from field hollers.
Callicott, whose music was notable for his delicate guitar style and rich vocals, spent most of his life here in Nesbit. He began playing blues as a young boy and performed for many years together with fellow guitarist Garfield Akers (c. 1900-1959). They played mostly around the area at informal gatherings and performed in a distinctive local style similar to that of Memphis blues pioneer Frank Stokes and Hernando’s Jim Jackson. In 1929 Jackson arranged for the pair to record for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender corporation of Chicago, which had set up a temporary recording unit at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Callicott’s recording of “Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues” from that session was unissued, but he played on Akers’ two-part single “Cottonfield Blues,” which was issued on the Vocalion label. The following year they again recorded in Memphis. Vocalion issued “Dough Roller Blues” and “Jumpin’ and Shoutin’ Blues” by Akers, while Brunswick released Callicott’s "Fare Thee Well Blues" and "Traveling Mama Blues" (using the spelling Calicott on the label and Callicutt in company files). Although Callicott gave up performing in the 1940s, Akers was active on the down-home Memphis blues scene of the early ‘50s. Akers, however, never recorded again.
Callicott was born in Nesbit, Mississippi. His "Love Me Baby Blues" has been covered by various artists, e.g. (under the title of "France Chance") by Ry Cooder. Arhoolie Records recorded Callicott commercially in the mid-1960's. Some of his 1967 recordings (recorded by the music historian, George Mitchell) were re-released in 2003, on the Fat Possum record label. His best known recordings are "Great Long Ways From Home" and "Hoist Your Window and Let Your Curtain Down.
He served as a mentor to the guitarist Kenny Brown when Brown was ten years old.
Joe Callicott is buried in the Mount Olive Baptist Church Cemetery in Nesbit, Mississippi. On 29 April 1995 a memorial headstone was placed on his grave arranged by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund with the help of Kenny Brown and financed by Chris Strachwitz, Arhoolie Records and John Fogerty. Callicott's original marker was a simple paving stone which read simply "Joe". This was subsequently donated by his family to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi. At the ceremony Arhoolie Records presented Callicott's wife Doll with a check for his past royalties.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The 2011 Juke Joint festival

The 2011 Juke Joint Festival was a Blast! Check out below! Rev KM

Monday, April 18, 2011

Floyd Jones

Floyd Jones (July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989) was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, who is significant as one of the first of the new generation of electric blues artists to record in Chicago after World War II. A number of Jones' recordings are regarded as classics of the Chicago blues idiom, and his song "On The Road Again" was a top ten hit for Canned Heat in 1968. Notably for a blues artist of his era, several of his songs have economic or social themes, such as "Stockyard Blues" (which refers to a strike at the Union Stockyards), "Hard Times" or "Schooldays".
[edit] Life and careerJones was born in Marianna, Arkansas. He started playing guitar seriously after being given a guitar by Howlin' Wolf, and worked as an itinerant musician in the Arkansas and Mississippi area in the 1930s and early 1940s, before settling in Chicago in 1945.
In Chicago, Jones took up the electric guitar, and was one of a number of musicians playing on Maxwell Street and in non-union venues in the late 1940s who played an important role in the development of the post-war Chicago Blues sound. This group included Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers, both of who went on to become mainstays of the Muddy Waters band, and also Snooky Pryor, Floyd's cousin Moody Jones and mandolin player Johnny Young. His first recording session in 1947, with Snooky on harmonica and Moody on guitar, produced the sides "Stockyard Blues" and "Keep What You Got", which formed one of the two records released by the Marvel Label, and was one of the first examples of the new style on record. A second session in 1949 resulted in a release on the similarly short-lived Tempo-Tone label. During the 1950s Jones also had records released on JOB, Chess and Vee-Jay, and in 1966 he recorded for the Testament label's Masters of Modern Blues series.
Jones continued performing in Chicago for the rest of his life, although he had few further recording opportunities. Later in his career the electric bass became his main instrument. He died in Chicago in December 1989.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cecil Barfield a/k/a 'William Robertson'

Cecil Barfield was a truly unique country bluesman with a primitive but extremely rewarding style. Born in 1922, he started playing music when he was five years old and until he was recorded by George Mitchell in 1976 he played exclusively for for his friends and relatives. Cecil was extremely superstitious and when an LP was released of some of his recordings they were issued under the assumed name of William Robertson and he wouldn't allow a photo of him to be used since someone could turn it face down and he would die. He is an intense and unique vocalist with an odd strangulated style which may take some getting used to but is remarkably effective. He was also a fine propulsive guitarist that sounds more Mississippi than Georgia. His material is a mix of original songs and covers of blues records that he makes very much his own. Some of the material has a loose free form style that brings to mind Robert Pete Williams particularly in the wonderful semi spoken Root Blues. Presumably his fears wouldn't have allowed him to travel so only a handful of people outside his community had a chance to see him perform which is a real shame as he was a major discovery.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bishop Perry Tillis

Perry Tillis was born July 29, 1919, in Elba , Alabama , and began playing his brand of rambling blues at a very early age.Perry Tillis was a professional musician who traveled extensively back in the ‘40s. “He went everywhere. He literally traveled from Florida to California.” Along the way Tillis met and played with Muddy Waters, with Pops Staples when he still was in Mississippi, and with John Lee Hooker before he went up north. Like a great many blues musicians of the day, from Charley Patton and Bukka White to the Reverend Gary Davis and Fred McDowell, he played blues with both sacred and profane content. Some of the biggest and best early blues singers sang only spiritual-type tunes, so-called guitar evangelists like Ed Clayborn and the great Blind Willie Johnson (who allegedly sought out Tillis in the ’40s to play with him). In the ‘60s, Tillis was converted and devoted himself to his music and his ministry via the Church of God in Christ. He became an itinerant preacher, eventually starting his own church and calling himself a reverend; years later, he made himself a bishop.We got to Elba, Alabama, and asked around about possible local musicians,” Olsson relates. “People immediately mentioned a man named ‘Blind Perry’ and when we found the place we hardly knew we’d found it. The driveway was covered in weeds, the house itself looked abandoned. Dogs were running around. It was not a romantic kind of thing, it was real sad. There he was living all by himself, blind since not too many years back, pieces missing in the wooden floor. He was living in a condition of total despair. Then when he played, the music was so intense, so beautiful! It was like hearing Charley Patton for the first time; it shook me in the same way, musically and emotionally. It was all I could do not to cry.” Too Close is superlative, one of those releases that not only redresses historical wrongs, but one that you find yourself listening to on repeat without even realizing it. The recordings on Too Close were made by Olsson in ’69 and ’71 and later by a close friend of Olsson’s in ’72, after Terry had gotten an electric guitar. It’s astonishing stuff. The music consists solely of Tillis’ voice and guitar, with occasional percussion caused by his feet stomping the loose floorboards in his house. From the first song, his take on “God Don’t Like It,” a song that advises against the drinking of moonshine, to “Kennedy Moan,” a stirring political number, it is all stirring stuff. Asked about this music’s rarity, Olsson says “I think sanctified blues as a tradition lived on as long as [‘regular’] blues,” but surmises that maybe “sanctified people didn’t buy the records as much, plus you didn’t have sanctified records on jukeboxes except for maybe Sister Rosetta Tharpe.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rev. Boyd Rivers

The guy is called - Rev. Boyd Rivers.
I think he was "discovered" on a "field trip" looking for Fred McDowell, or while hunting down info on Elmore James - can't remember which.
Apparently he played slide as well, but I don't think was ever recorded playing that,little bit of Reverend Gary Davis, but more raw! He has an unusual style and a great bluesy voice!-Rev KM Williams

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Charles Caldwell Mississippi bluesman

Charles Caldwell (May 1943[1] – September 2003[2]) was a musician from Mississippi, known for a raw and fiery brand of electric country blues.Charles Caldwell was a tall (six foot eight) and charismatic guitar player who unfortunately was dealt a cruel hand by the music fates. Born in 1943, Caldwell lived his whole life in the north Mississippi hill country around Coffeeville, working at a fan-making factory manufactured heating and cooling equipment in Greneda, and playing the local juke joints on the weekends for often no more pay than free liquor. He got his first guitar at the age of 14, the hollow-body Gibson 135 that he used the rest of his life to turn out the raw and passionate electric blues that was favored in the region. By the time Fat Possum founder Matthew Johnson stumbled across him in May of 2002,
his public performances were limited to stints at parties and local juke joints. Although Caldwell had begun playing the blues as a teenager, his repertoire remained unrecorded until 2002, when he met Fat Possum Records boss Matthew Johnson. Impressed with Caldwell's playing and personal charisma, Thompson set up recording sessions at The Money Shot in Water Valley, Mississippi. Most songs featured just Caldwell's voice and electric guitar, though a few tracks included minimal drums. Midway through the sessions, Caldwell was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but he doggedly continued recording. He died in September 2003 at the age of 60.
His sole album, Remember Me, was released posthumously on 24 February 2004, garnering favorable reviews and comparisons to such artists as labelmate Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, and the early Muddy Waters.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Silas Hogan - Swamp Blues Man

Silas Hogan (September 15, 1911 – January 9, 1994)was an American swamp blues musician. Hogan most notably recorded "Airport Blues" and "Lonesome La La", was the front man of the Rhythm Ramblers, and became an inductee in the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame.Sometime in the late '20s Silas learned the basics of the guitar from his two uncles, Robert and Frank Murphy, who later went on to influence the idiosyncratic style of Robert Pete Williams. Learning his trade by playing assorted house parties and picnics in the local vicinity, by the late '30s Hogan was working regularly with guitarist Willie B. Thomas and fiddler Butch Cage, making the local juke-joint circuit his new found home. A move to the Baton Rouge area in the early '50s brought changes to his music. Armed with a Fender electric guitar and amp, Hogan formed his first electric combo -- the Rhythm Ramblers -- becoming one of the top drawing cards on the Louisiana juke-joint circuit.Similar to Lazy Lester and Slim Harpo, Hogan was influenced by Jimmy Reed.They assisted in the development of the Baton Rouge Blues sound, and with band members Hogan (guitar), Isaiah Chapman (lead guitar), Jimmy Dotson (drums), plus Sylvester Buckley (harmonica), they stayed together for almost ten years.In 1962, by which time he was aged 51, Hogan was belatedly introduced by Harpo to the Crowley, Louisiana based record producer, J. D. "Jay" Miller. Miller, via the offices of Excello Records, started Hogan's recording career, at a time when interest in variations of swamp blues was starting to wane.Hogan recorded for Excello from 1962 to early 1965, seeing the last of his single releases issued late that year.Hogan did nevertheless see the issue of several singles up to 1965, On some of his recordings, Hogan was backed by the harmonica player, Moses "Whispering" Smith.When Miller clashed with the new owners in 1966, ending the flow of Crowley product on the label. No longer an Excello recording artist, Hogan disbanded his group, going back to his day job at the Exxon refinery near Baton Rogue. The chance to record came around again in the 1970s, with Hogan cutting sides for labels like Arhoolie and Blue Horizon while remaining active on the Southern blues festival circuit for pretty much the rest of the decade. With as little fanfare as his Excello singles were greeted in the marketplace, Silas Hogan quietly passed away in January of 1994 of heart disease, at the age of 82.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lonnie Pitchford

Lonnie Pitchford (October 8, 1955 – November 8, 1998) was an American blues musician and instrument maker from Lexington, Mississippi. He was notable in that he was one of only a handful of young African American musicians from Mississippi who had learned and was continuing the Delta blues and country blues traditions of the older generations.
In addition to the acoustic and electric guitar, Pitchford was also skilled at the one-string guitar and diddley bow, a one-string instrument of African origin, as well as the double bass, piano and harmonica. He was a protégé of Robert Lockwood, Jr., from whom he learned the style of Robert Johnson. His own debut album, All Round Man was released on Rooster Blues Records in 1994.He was born and raised about five miles outside of Lexington, a rural Mississippi town not far from Clarksdale. Lonnie Pitchford was one of the most versatile musicians you will ever hear. He's played one room jook joints and Carnegie Hall. He was a carpenter by trade and he was good at his work. He's built his own guitars and his own house. A guiet man who never let on he was a world famous musician; Lonnie could be seen around Clarksdale wearing his carpentry belt and carrying on his trade.
Lonnie began making one string guitars as a child and taught himself to play them. He often construct one on stage and then proceed to amaze audiences with his abilitiy to get incredible sounds from it. He also builds a one string guitar known as the Diddley Bow. He could get more from his Diddley Bow than a lot of guitarist can get from their Strat. He began performing outside Mississippi as a teen-ager, appearing at the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife from 1972 to 1991.
By the 1990s he had toured in Europe and Australia as well as the United States. When not on the road, he worked as a carpenter.
He appeared in the documentaries "The Land Where the Blues Began" (1980) and "Deep Blues" (1992), and was recorded for five blues anthologies before he made his first solo album, "All Around
Man," for Rooster Blues Records in 1994. He was working on an album for Mississippi Crossroads Music. He also made an album with the New Africa String Band, which included Powell and Big Jack Johnson.
In November 1998, Pitchford died at his home in Lexington, from AIDS. A diddley bow is featured on his headstone which was paid for by John Fogerty and Rooster Blues Records through the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund. His grave is located near the grave of Elmore James, in the New Port Baptist Church cemetery in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pat Hare

Auburn "Pat" Hare (December 20, 1930 - September 26, 1980) was an American Memphis blues and rockabilly guitarist and singer. He was born in Cherry Valley, Arkansas. He recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, serving as a sideman for Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland and other artists. He was one of the first guitarists to purposely use the effects of distortion in his playing. Born Auburn Hare (and it's hard to believe that such a name wouldn't have raised eyebrows even in rural Arkansas!) in the Cross County town of Cherry Valley, Pat immediately took to the guitar in a big way. Memphis was just a short distance away across the Mississippi river, and even as a teenager Hare realised that he wanted to be a part of the city's flourishing blues scene. The earliest records of his participation indicate that he was a member of Howlin' Wolf's first electric group in the late forties, together with such luminaries as Junior Parker, James Cotton, Matt Murphy and Willie Johnson. In addition to working the Memphis circuit, this group played regular sessions on the local Arkansas radio station KWEM.
"Yes, I'm gonna murder my baby (yeah, I'm tellin' the truth now) 'Cause she don't do nothin' but cheat and lie" might be forgiven for thinking. And you'd be quite right... were it not for the fact that guitarist Pat Hare, who wrote and recorded "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" in May 1954, then took the song's message a step further and killed his girlfriend in mysterious circumstances eight years later. But it would be a real pity to concentrate on the sordid aspects of his private life, especially given Hare's immense performance on a host of notable blues records during what was a relatively short career. Indeed, it would be fair to say that Hare's contribution to the Sun blues catalogue was almost as important as that of guitarists like Roland Janes to the legendary label's rock & roll and rockabilly releases
In the meantime, Sam Phillips had set up his Memphis Recording Service with the motto "We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime", and from early 1950 began recording local blues artists, initially for the Phillips label, then for RPM/Modern, and from 1952, for Sun Records. Besides the great Howlin' Wolf, the artists included Joe Hill Louis, Willie Nix, Rufus Thomas, Walter Horton, and a young B.B. King. Always on the lookout for talented sidemen, Phillips soon picked up on "the new guitarist with the angry, spine-tingling tone", and recruited Hare to play on James Cotton's debut session for the Sun label. Blues anthologists generally rate "My Baby"/"Straighten Out Baby" (Sun 199) and "Cotton Crop Blues"/"Hold Me In Your Arms"(Sun 206) as being as good as anything that Cotton ever recorded, and Hare's jagged lead guitar solos (which must have sounded even more menacing back in 1954!) definitely deserve some of the credit.
Hare's sound on those early James Cotton records is as overdriven as overdriven can be. And needless to say, fuzz pedals and stomp boxes were still a long way down the line; Hare did it all by turning up the volume knob on his tiny Sears & Roebuck amp as high as it would go, driving the speaker practically to destruction!Towards the end of the decade, Hare then decided to hit Chicago, and in no time became a key member of Muddy Waters' band. The results can be appreciated on Muddy's sensational "Live At Newport" album (1960), where a band featuring Waters, Hare, James Cotton and Otis Spann plays the living daylights out of "I've Got My Mojo Workin'", "Baby Please Don't Go", and the like. Hare remained with Waters until 1962, after which he moved to Minneapolis with harp-player (and fellow Waters bandmate) George "Mojo" Buford.
Reported to have been an unassuming man in private (once married to Dorothy Mae Good, with whom he had three children - a son and two daughters); however, he had serious, and ultimately fatal, drinking problems. On a tragic night in 1962, a policeman rushed to a Minneapolis address following reports of a domestic dispute between Hare and his girlfriend. On entering the house, he discovered that Hare had shot the girl dead. Presumably in a state of panic, Hare rounded on the policeman and shot him dead too. He received a life sentence in 1964 for this double murder and spent the last sixteen years of his life in a Minneapolis jail, dying of cancer in 1980.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hambone Willie Newbern

Hambone Willie Newbern (1899-1947) was a guitar-playing blues musician. His home community was in the Brownsville, Tennessee area along Tennessee State Route 19. He was reported to have played with Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes (from whom most of our knowledge of Hambone was gained) in the 1920s and '30s. He recorded one of the earliest known versions of the blues standard "Rollin' and Tumblin'" in 1929.Little is known about blues songster Hambone Willie Newbern; a mere half-dozen sides comprise the sum of his recorded legacy, but among those six is the first-ever rendition of the immortal Delta classic "Roll and Tumble Blues." Reportedly born in 1899, he first began to make a name for himself in the Brownsville, TN area, where he played country dances and fish fries in the company of Yank Rachell; later, on the Mississippi medicine show circuit, he mentored Sleepy John Estes (from whom most of the known information about Newbern originated). While in Atlanta in 1929, Newbern cut his lone session; in addition to "Roll and Tumble," which became an oft-covered standard, he recorded songs like "She Could Toodle-Oo" and "Hambone Willie's Dreamy-Eyed Woman's Blues," which suggest an old-fashioned rag influence. By all reports an extremely ill-tempered man, Newbern's behavior eventually led him to prison, where a brutal beating is said to have brought his life to an end around 1947.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Joe Hill Louis

Joe Hill Louis (September 23, 1921 – August 5, 1957), born Lester Hill, was an American singer, guitarist, harmonica player and one-man band. He is significant, along with fellow Memphis bluesman Doctor Ross as one of only a small number of one-man blues bands to have recorded commercially in the 1950s, and as a session musician for Sun Records.Louis was born Lester (or possibly Leslie) Hill on September 23, 1921 in Raines, Tennessee. His nickname “Joe Louis” arose as a result of a childhood fight with another youth.[2] At the age of 14 he left home to work as a servant for a wealthy Memphis family, and also worked in the Peabody Hotel, Memphis, in the late 1930s. From the early 1940s onwards he worked as a musician and one-man band.
Louis’ recording debut was made for Columbia in 1949, and his music was released on a variety of independent labels through the 1950s, most notably recording for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records,[2] for whom he recorded extensively as a backing musician for a wide variety of other singers as well as under his own name. His most notable recording was probably as guitarist on Rufus Thomas’s “Bear Cat”, recorded as an answer record to Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog”, which reached No. 3 on the R&B chart and resulted in legal action for copyright infringement. He also shared writing credit for the song “Tiger Man”, which has been recorded by Elvis Presley, among others.
Around 1950 he took over the “Pepticon Boy” radio program on WDIA from B. B. King.
He was also known as “The Pepticon Boy” and “The Be-Bop Boy”.Louis died on August 5, 1957 in John Gaston Hospital, Memphis,at the age of 35, from tetanus contracted as a result of an infected cut to his thumb, sustained while working as an odd job man.